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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Habakkuk 1:5

 

 

"Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days-- You would not believe if you were told.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Behold ye among the heathen - Instead of בגוים baggoyim, among the nations or heathen, some critics think we should read בגדים bogedim, transgressors; and to the same purpose the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic have read; and thus it is quoted by St. Paul Acts 13:41. But neither this, nor any tantamount reading, is found in any of the MSS. yet collated. Newcome translates, "See, ye transgressors, and behold a wonder, and perish."

I will work a work in your days - As he is speaking of the desolation that should be produced by the Chaldeans, it follows, as Bp. Newcome has justly observed, that the Chaldeans invaded Judah whilst those were living whom the prophet addressed.

Which ye will not believe - Nor did they, after all the declarations of various prophets. They still supposed that God would not give them up into the hands of their enemies, though they continued in their abominations!

It is evident that St. Paul, in the above place, accommodates this prediction to his own purpose. And possibly this sense might have been the intention of the Divine Spirit when he first spoke the words to the prophet; for, as God works in reference to eternity, so he speaks in reference to the same; and therefore there is an infinity of meaning in his Word. These appear to be the words of God in answer to the prophet, in which he declares he will entirely ruin this wicked people by means of the Chaldeans.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/habakkuk-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Behold ye among the heathen - The whole tone of the words suddenly changes. The Jews flattered themselves that, being the people of God, He would not fulfill His threats upon them. They had become like the pagan in wickedness; God bids them look out among them for the instrument of His displeasure. It was an aggravation of their punishment, that God, who had once chosen them, would now choose these whom He had not chosen, to chasten them. So Moses had foretold; Deuteronomy 32:21, “They have moved Me to jealousy by that which is not God; they have provoked Me to anger with their vanities; and I will move them to jealousy with not-a-people, I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.” There were no tokens of the storm which should sweep them away, yet on the horizon. No forerunners yet. And so He bids them gaze on among the nations, to see whence it should come. They might have expected it from Egypt. It should come whence they did not expect, with a fierceness and terribleness which they imagined not.

Regard - look narrowly, weigh well what it portends.

And wonder marvelously - literally, “be amazed, amazed.” The word is doubled to express how amazement should follow upon amazement; when the first was passing away, new source of amazement should come; for.

I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. - So incredible it will be, and so against their wills! He does not say, “ye would not believe if it were told you;” much less “if it were told you of others;” in which case the chief thought would be left unexpressed. No condition is expressed. It is simply foretold, what was verified by the whole history of their resistance to the Chaldees until the capture of the city; “Ye will not believe, when it shall be told you.” So it ever is. Man never believes that God is in earnest until His judgments come. So it was before the flood, and with Sodom, and with Lot‘s sons-in-law; so it was with Ahab and Jezebel; so with this destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldaeans, and what is shadowed forth, by the Romans. So Jeremiah complained Jeremiah 5:12, “They have belied the Lord, and said, it is not He; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine,” and Jeremiah 20:7-8, “I am in derision daily; everyone mocketh me. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision daily;” and Isaiah Isaiah 53:1, “Who hath believed our report?” and John the Immerser speaks as though it were desperate Matthew 3:7; “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” and our Lord tells them Matthew 23:38; Luke 13:35, “Your house is left unto you desolate.”

And yet they believed not, but delivered Him up to be put to death, lest that should be, which did come, because they put Him to death John 11:48. “If we let Him thus alone, all people will believe on Him; and the Romans shall come, and take away both our place and nation.” Therefore, Paul applies these words to the Jews in his day, because the destruction of the first temple by Nebuchadnezzar was an image of the destruction of the second temple (which by divine appointment, contrary to man‘s intention, took place on the same day ), and the Chaldaeans were images of the Romans, that second Babylon, pagan Rome; and both foreshowed the worse destruction by a fiercer enemy - the enemy of souls - the spiritual wasting and desolation which came upon the Jew first, and which shall come on all who disobey the gospel. So it shall be to the end. Even now, the Jews believe not, whose work their own dispersion is; His, who by them was crucified, but who has “all power in heaven and in earth” Matthew 28:18. The Day of Judgment will come like a thief in the night to those who believe not or obey not our Lord‘s words.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/habakkuk-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Behold ye among the nations, and look, and wonder marvelously; for I am working a work in your days, which ye will not believe though it be told you. For lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs."

"Behold ye among the nations ..." There was nothing upon the historical horizon that indicated any possibility of a power about to rise up and destroy the Southern Israel, which had already survived the onslaught of the Assyrians which had carried away Samaria in 722 B.C. Something like an entire generation had passed since that disaster, and the southern nation of Israel had, in a sense, accommodated to the world-dominance of Assyria, expecting no trouble from them. Furthermore, Babylon, at the time of Habakkuk, was itself tributory to Assyria, affording no kind of threat to any nation. What Habakkuk was saying here was, that there was absolutely nothing in sight that would enable the people even to believe the disaster coming upon them. How could it even be imagined that such a declaration as this would have been boldly presented after the events prophesied had occurred? Whoever, throughout history, ever did such a thing? The prophets of God? Absolutely NO!

"And wonder marvelously ..." Habakkuk continued to stress the incredibility, from all human consideration, of the word of God which he here announced.

This whole verse strongly emphasizes the apparent impossibility of what Habakkuk was prophesying by the word of God.

The words (Habakkuk 1:5) are building up to a conclusion which the people would not believe if told. The work to be performed is so incredible that they would not think it possible, even if they were told. Such an extraordinary event must be seen to be believed.[13]

This passage, so vigorously attacked by Biblical enemies, has the advantage of New Testament attestation:

The apostle Paul quoted this verse, applying the principle of God's dealings in Habakkuk's day to the situation in the church in his own day (Acts 13:41). God's work of calling the Gentiles into his church would be just as astonishing as his work of using the Babylonians to punish Judah.[14]

Paul quoted it at Pisidian Antioch in the Jewish synagogue, using their version of the Old Testament (LXX), which begins: "Behold ye despisers, and wonder, and perish." That rendition of the place, plus Paul's usage of it, proves that Habakkuk was right and that the people of his time did not at all believe his prophecy. Paul's meaning was that the Jews who would not believe that God was calling the Gentiles would themselves perish in their stubbornness and unbelief.

"For lo, I raise up the Chaldeans ..." This prophecy, given at a time prior to the emergence of the Chaldeans as a world power, requires the dating of the prophecy at some time prior to 627 B.C. The problem with the critics is how to get rid of this troublesome word "Chaldeans." Some of them have freely admitted that as long as this reference stands, it is a tortuous and impossible assignment to late-date it. Accordingly, some have boldly changed the word:

"They emend (meaning, they substitute their own word for the word of Habakkuk) the word `Chaldeans' to `Kittini,' which they then take to refer to the Macedonian Greeks and the Asiatic campaigns of Alexander the Great (336-333 B.C.)!"[15]

Indeed, indeed! There is equal authority for "emending" the word to mean Romans, Visigoths, Germans, or Japanese, that is, none at all. What should be said of the conceit of men who will take a passage, clear and authentic enough as regards the text, and then deliberately change it to suit their theories? The greatest hoax of all is involved in the fact that, after having done so, they proceed to sell commentaries on "the Bible"; but what they are commenting on in such instances is not the work of a holy prophet, but their own words!

Deane gave the correct understanding of this verse (Habakkuk 1:6) as follows:

"This signifies the soldiers or inhabitants of Babylon, which won its independence and commenced its wonderfully rapid career of conquest after the fall of Nineveh between 626,606 B.C. At the time when Habakkuk wrote, the Chaldeans had not appeared in Judaea."[16]

It would be difficult indeed to cite a better example of inspired predictive prophecy than this passage from Habakkuk. Of course, the obvious truth of this is behind the fact of the book's having been treasured throughout millenniums of time and of its being given a place in the sacred Canon of the Word of God. To suppose otherwise is to suppose a miracle greater than that evident in such a remarkable prophecy.

"That march through the breadth of the earth ..." This is not merely a prophecy of the judgment and destruction of Judaea, but also of the rise of a world-power, the Chaldeans, who until this prophecy had never been supposed to be capable of world dominion.

"That bitter and hasty nation ..." One of the amazing characteristics of the Chaldean rise to worldwide authority was the speed of its accomplishment, another facet of Habakkuk's remarkable prophecy.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/habakkuk-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard,.... This is the Lord's answer to the prophet's complaint, or what he directs him to say to the Jews, guilty of the crimes complained of, which should not go long unpunished; and who are called upon to look around them, and see what was doing among the nations; how the king of Babylon had overturned the Assyrian empire, and was going from place to place, subduing one nation after another, and their turn would be quickly: for these words are not addressed to the heathen, to stir them up to observe what was doing, or about to be done, to the Jews; but to the Jews themselves, to consider and regard the operations of the Lord, and the works of his providence among the nations of the earth. These words are differently rendered in the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, and which better agree with the quotation of them by the apostle; see Gill on Acts 13:41,

and wonder marvellously; or "wonder, wonder"F19והתמהו תמהו "et admiramini, admiramini", Vatablus, Drusius, Burkius. ; the word is repeated, to express the great admiration there would be found just reason for, on consideration of what was now doing in the world, and would be done, especially in Judea:

for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you; which was the destruction of the Jewish nation, city, and temple, by the Chaldeans, as is evident from the following words; and, though they were the instruments of it, it was the work of divine Providence; it was done according to the will of God, and by his direction, he giving success; and, being thus declared, was a certain thing, and might be depended on, nothing should hinder it; and it should be done speedily, in that generation, some then living should see it; though the thing was so amazing and incredible, that they would not believe it ever would be; partly because the Chaldeans were their good friends and allies, as they thought, as appears by Josiah's going out against the king of Egypt, when he was marching his army against the king of Babylon; and partly because they were the covenant people of God, and would never be abandoned and given up by him into the hands of another people; and therefore, when they were told of it by the prophets of the Lord, especially by Jeremiah, time after time; who expressly said the king of Babylon would come against them, and they would be delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans; yet they would give no credit to it, till their ruin came upon them, as may be observed in various parts of his prophecy. The apostle quotes this passage in the place above mentioned, and applies it to the destruction of the Jews by the Romans, for their contemptuous rejection of the Messiah and his Gospel; which yet they would not believe to the last, though it was foretold by Christ and his apostles.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/habakkuk-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Behold ye among the nations, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for [I] will work a work in your days, [which] d ye will not believe, though it be told [you].

(d) As in times past you would not believe God's word, so you will not now believe the strange plagues which are at hand.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/habakkuk-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

marvellously … a work — (Compare Isaiah 29:14). Quoted by Paul (Acts 13:41).

among the heathen — In Acts 13:41, “ye despisers,” from the Septuagint. So the Syriac and Arabic versions; perhaps from a different Hebrew reading. In the English Version reading of Habakkuk, God, in reply to the prophet‘s expostulation, addresses the Jews as about to be punished, “Behold ye among the heathen (with whom ye deserve to be classed, and by whom ye shall be punished, as despisers; the sense implied, which Paul expresses): learn from them what ye refused to learn from Me!” For “wonder marvellously,” Paul, in Acts 13:41, has, “wonder and perish,” which gives the sense, not the literal wording, of the Hebrew, “Wonder, wonder,” that is, be overwhelmed in wonder. The despisers are to be given up to their own stupefaction, and so perish. The Israelite unbelievers would not credit the prophecy as to the fearfulness of the destruction to be wrought by the Chaldeans, nor afterwards the deliverance promised from that nation. So analogously, in Paul‘s day, the Jews would not credit the judgment coming on them by the Romans, nor the salvation proclaimed through Jesus. Thus the same Scripture applied to both.

ye will not believe, though it be told you — that is, ye will not believe now that I foretell it.


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/habakkuk-1.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

“Look ye among the nations, and see, and be amazed, amazed! for I work a work in your days: ye would not believe it if it were told you.” The appeal to see and be amazed is addressed to the prophet and the people of Judah together. It is very evident from Habakkuk 1:6 that Jehovah Himself is speaking here, and points by anticipation to the terrible nature of the approaching work of His punitive righteousness, although פּעל is written indefinitely, without any pronoun attached. Moreover, as Delitzsch and Hitzig observe, the meaning of the appeal is not, “Look round among the nations, whether any such judgment has ever occurred;” but, “Look about among the nations, for it is thence that the terrible storm will burst that is about to come upon you” (cf. Jeremiah 25:32; Jeremiah 13:20). The first and ordinary view, in support of which Lamentations 1:12; Jeremiah 2:10 and Jeremiah 18:13, are generally adduced, is precluded by the fact, (1) that it is not stated for what they are to look round, namely, whether anything of the kind has occurred here or there (Jeremiah 2:10); (2) that the unparalleled occurrence has not been mentioned at all yet; and (3) that what they are to be astonished or terrified at is not their failure to discover an analogy, but the approaching judgment itself. The combination of the kal , tâmâh , with the hiphil of the same verb serves to strengthen it, so as to express the highest degree of amazement (cf. Zephaniah 2:1; Psalms 18:11, and Ewald, §313, c ). כּי , for , introduces the reason not only for the amazement, but also for the summons to look round. The two clauses of the second hemistich correspond to the two clauses of the first half of the verse. They are to look round, because Jehovah is about to perform a work; they are to be amazed, or terrified, because this work is an amazing or a terrible one. The participle פּעל denotes that which is immediately at hand, and is used absolutely, without a pronoun. According to Habakkuk 1:6, אני is the pronoun we have to supply. For it is not practicable to supply הוּא , or to take the participle in the sense of the third person, since God, when speaking to the people, cannot speak of Himself in the third person, and even in that case יהוה could not be omitted. Hitzig's idea is still more untenable, namely, that pō‛al is the subject, and that pō‛ēl is used in an intransitive sense: the work produces its effect. We must assume, as Delitzsch does, that there is a proleptical elipsis, i.e., one in which the word immediately following is omitted (as in Isaiah 48:11; Zechariah 9:17). The admissibility of this assumption is justified by the fact that there are other cases in which the participle is used and the pronoun omitted; and that not merely the pronoun of the third person (e.g., Isaiah 2:11; Jeremiah 38:23), but that of the second person also (1 Samuel 2:24; 1 Samuel 6:3, and Psalms 7:10). On the expression בּימיכם (in your days), see the Introduction. לא תאמינוּ , ye would not believe it if it were told you, namely, as having occurred in another place of at another time, if ye did not see it yourselves (Delitzsch and Hitzig). Compare Acts 13:41, where the Apostle Paul threatens the despisers of the gospel with judgment in the words of our verse.


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/habakkuk-1.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

Behold ye — Here God begins to answer the prophet.

Among the heathen — See what judgments have been executed upon the heathen for like sins.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/habakkuk-1.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The Prophet turns his discourse to the Jews, after having related the private colloquy, in which he expostulated with God for having so patiently borne with the obstinate wickedness of the nation. Being now as it were furnished with God’s command, (as the case really was,) he performs the office of a herald, and proclaims an approaching destruction. He indeed adopts a preface, which ought to have awakened drowsy and careless minds. He says—look, see, be astonished, be astonished; these repetitions do not a little increase the alarm; he twice bids them to see, and he twice exhorts them to be astonished, or to wonder. He then briefly proclaims the judgement of God, which he afterwards more fully describes. We now, then, perceive the object of the Prophet, and the manner in which he proceeds with his subject.

And he bids those among the nations to behold, as though he had said, that they were unworthy to be taught in the school of God; he therefore appointed other masters for them, even the Chaldeans, as we shall presently see. He might have said—look to God; but as the Prophet had so long spent his labor in vail and without profit while teaching them, he sets over them the Chaldeans as teachers. Behold, he says, ye teachers among the Gentiles. There is here indeed an implied contrast, as thought he said—“God has hitherto often recalled you to himself, and has offered himself to you, but ye have refused to look to him; now then, as he is wearied with exercising patience so long, he appoints for you other teachers; learn now from the Gentiles what ye leave hitherto refused to learn from the holy mouth of God himself”.

The Greek translators no doubt read בגורים, for their version is—“Behold, ye despisers.” (10) But in Hebrew there is no ambiguity as to the word.

He afterwards adds—And wonder ye, wonder (11) By these words the prophets express how dreadful God’s judgement would be, which would astonish the Jews themselves. Had they not been extremely refractory they might have quietly received instruction, for God would have addressed them by his prophets, as though they had been his own children. They might thus, with composed minds, have listened to God speaking to them; but the time was now come when they were to be filled with astonishment. We hence see that the Prophet meant this in a few words—that there would be a new mode of teaching, which would overwhelm the unwilling with astonishment, because they would not endure to be ruled in a gentle manner, when the Lord required nothing from them but to render themselves teachable.

After having said that God’s judgement would be dreadful, he adds that it was nigh at hand—a work, he says, will he work in your days, etc. They had already been often warned of that vengeance, but as they had for a long time disregarded it, they did ever remain sunk in their own self-delusions, like men who are wont to protract time and hunt on every side for some excuse for indulging themselves. So then when the people became hardened against all threatening, they thought that God would ever bear with them; hence the Prophet expressly declares, that the execution of that which they regarded as a fable was near at hand—He will work, he says, this work in your days

He then subjoins—ye will not believe when it shall be told you; that is, God will execute such a punishment as will be incredible and exceed all belief. The Prophet no doubt alludes to the want of faith in the people, and indirectly reproves them, as though he said—“Ye have hitherto denied faith to God’s word, but ye shall at length find that he has told the truth; and this ye shall find to your astonishment; for as his word has been counted by you incredible, so also incredible shall be his judgement.” In short, the Prophet intimates this—that though the Prophets had been derided by the Jews, and despised as inventors of fables, yet nothing had been said by them which would not be fully accomplished. This reward then was to be paid to all the unbelieving; for God would in the most dreadful manner avenge their impiety, so that they should themselves be astonished and become an astonishment to others. We now perceive what the Prophet meant by saying that the Jews would not believe the work of God when told them, that is, the vengeance which he will presently describe.

This passage is quoted by Paul, and is applied to the punishment then awaiting the Jews; for Paul, after having offered Christ to them, and seeing that many of them regarded the preaching of Gospel with scorn, added these words—“see,” he said, “and be astonished, for God will work a work in your days which ye shall not believe.” Paul at the same time made a suitable application of the Prophet’s words; for as God had once threatened his people by his Prophet Habakkuk, so he was still like himself; and since had so severely vindicated the contempt of his law as to his ancient people, he could not surely bear with the impiety of that people whom he found to have acted so malignantly and so ungratefully, yea so wantonly and perversely, as to reject his grace; for this was the last remedy for the Jews. No wonder then that Paul set before them this vengeance, when the Jews of his time persisted through their unbelief to reject Christ. Now follows the explanation -


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/habakkuk-1.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

for I will work

Habakkuk 1:5 anticipates the dispersion "among the nations" (cf) Deuteronomy 28:64-67. While Israel as a nation is thus dispersed, Jehovah will "work a work" which Israel "will not believe." Acts 13:37-41, interprets this prediction of the redemptive work of Christ. It is significant that Paul quotes this to Jews of the dispersion in the synagogue at Antioch.


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Habakkuk 1:5". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/habakkuk-1.html. 1917.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

I would desire to read this verse by itself; because I humbly conceive it is not connected with what follows. Though this verse, and the six that follow, are spoken by the Lord, yet the subjects differ. And I ground my opinion from the Apostle Paul having quoted this verse in his Sermon. Acts 13:15-41. and directly applied it to the subject of the gospel. I beg the Reader to turn to Paul's discourse and read it; which will at once convince him that what follows in Habakkuk's prophecy concerning the Chaldeans had nothing to do with this marvellous work, the Lord said he would do in the days to which he referred. It was indeed a marvellous work, that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles. And it was, and still is a marvelous work, that many reject the truth of God, and equally marvellous that any should receive it, and indeed without grace cannot. All is marvellous! But I beg the Reader, after he hath diligently read the sermon of Paul, if he thinks with me, that this verse wholly refers to the times of the gospel; that he will join me in praising God for this sweet testimony to the truth, as it is in Jesus, and from such a scriptural record of our adorable Lord by the way, be forever on the lookout for similar testimonies in the Prophets, who all with one voice preach wholly of Jesus.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/habakkuk-1.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Habakkuk 1:5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for [I] will work a work in your days, [which] ye will not believe, though it be told [you].

Ver. 5. Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously] Heb. Wonder, wonder. This is God’s answer to the former expostulation, which he disliketh not, but encourageth the rest of his people to the like holy boldness. It containeth a promise to the prophet and the rest that were like affected, that he would shortly vindicate his glory and be avenged of the wicked, though he bore long with them. This that he may the better assure, he proceedeth by an elegant climax, wherein his speech getteth ground and ariseth higher and higher, that the despisers might be the more affected. "Behold, ye despisers," so St Paul after the Septuagint (whose translation he here followeth as most received, and most making for his purpose), Acts 13:41, the sense being one and the same.

For I will work a work in your days] This phrase noteth the strong intention of God upon it; as Jeremiah 18:18, to devise devices, noteth strong plotting to mischief the prophet. So Christ is said to work a work, John 5:36. Many do rather play their works than work them. This is not God-like. He is serious and thorough in his works.

Which ye will not believe, though it be told you] But put off all, as those in the Gospel did, with a God forbid; and so go on in sin, till wrath come upon you to the utmost. To this day we cannot get men to believe the truth of God’s judgments, while they hang in the threatenings; but one put-off or another they get, through self-delusion, or obstinace of heart, Lamentations 3:65, next unto which followeth, Thy curse upon them.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/habakkuk-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Habakkuk 1:5. Behold ye, &c.—though it be told you See and behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish; for, &c.—when it is told. Houbigant. So also the LXX, and Acts 13:41.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/habakkuk-1.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Behold ye: here God begins to answer the prophet, and calls for a very particular and exact consideration of the thing; see and ponder.

Among the heathen; what judgments, what punishments have been executed upon the heathen, for like sins.

Regard; weigh it well in all its tendency and consequence, for it is a warning to you, it assures you judgment will overtake you also. Wonder marvellously; as astonished at judgments, too great to be expressed in words, and so strange that it will seem too much to be believed.

For I, the great and glorious God, the just and supreme Judge,

will work a work; begin, continue, and finish a work; a work I am working, a work of equal severity and justice.

In your days; it shall no more be deferred, Ezekiel 7:5, &c.

Ye will not believe; you wicked violent oppressors will not believe, though the Lord by his prophets foretell it.

Told you; described how, and by whom, and when.

Behold ye: here God begins to answer the prophet, and calls for a very particular and exact consideration of the thing; see and ponder.

Among the heathen; what judgments, what punishments have been executed upon the heathen, for like sins.

Regard; weigh it well in all its tendency and consequence, for it is a warning to you, it assures you judgment will overtake you also. Wonder marvellously; as astonished at judgments, too great to be expressed in words, and so strange that it will seem too much to be believed.

For I, the great and glorious God, the just and supreme Judge,

will work a work; begin, continue, and finish a work; a work I am working, a work of equal severity and justice.

In your days; it shall no more be deferred, Ezekiel 7:5, &c.

Ye will not believe; you wicked violent oppressors will not believe, though the Lord by his prophets foretell it.

Told you; described how, and by whom, and when.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/habakkuk-1.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Lord told Habakkuk and his people (plural "you" in Hebrew) to direct their attention away from what was happening in Judah to what was happening in the larger arena of ancient Near Eastern activity. They were to observe something there that would astonish them and make them marvel. They would see that God was doing something in their days that they would not believe if someone just told them about it.

"The Apostle Paul, quoting from the LXX on this verse, applies the principle of God"s dealings in Habakkuk"s day to the situation in the church in his own day ( Acts 13:41). No doubt God"s work of calling the Gentiles into his church would be just as astonishing as his work of using the Babylonian armies to punish Judah." [Note: David W. Kerr, " Habakkuk ," in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p873.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/habakkuk-1.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Habakkuk 1:5. Behold, &c. — For a punishment of such exorbitant practices, behold, God is about to make the heathen the instruments of his vengeance. Ye among the heathen, and regard — Consider and weigh it well, in its nature and consequences; for it is intended as a warning to you, and assures you that judgment will overtake you also. And wonder marvellously — As astonished at judgments too great to be described, and so strange that they will appear to many, even of God’s professing people, to be incredible. For I will work a work, &c., which ye will not believe — The judgment shall be such, as you despisers of God’s word will not believe to be coming upon you. These words are referred to, and indeed quoted, by St. Paul, Acts 13:41; not, however, according to the Hebrew text, but the translation of the LXX., who, instead of בגוים, begoim, among the heathen, seem to have read בגדום, begadim, despisers, or perfidious persons. This reading of the LXX. is preferred by Grotius, because, he observes, “God addresses the Jews who were despisers of his deity.”


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/habakkuk-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Among. Septuagint ye despisers. St. Paul nearly agrees with this version, Acts xiii. 41. The copies vary, as the Hebrew has done. (Calmet) --- The apostle gives the mystical sense; the literal is very obscure. (Worthington) --- God answers the prophet's complaints, and shews that the Chaldeans shall punish the guilty, and afterwards be themselves chastised.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/habakkuk-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Behold = Look ye. For emphasis, introducing the change to Jehovah"s answer. Quoted in Acts 13:41. Compare Isaiah 29:14.

Behold . . . regard . . . wonder. Note the Figure of speech Anabasis (App-6).

heathen = nations.

which ye -will not believe. Some codices read "yet ye will not believe".


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/habakkuk-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work. Here Yahweh replies to Habakkuk's complaint (Habakkuk 1:2), Though I do not punish violence and wrong immediately, it is not that I am an unconcerned spectator; in my own good time I will work a work of vengeance upon the transgressors past all that could be expected (cf. Isaiah 29:14, "Behold I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder"). Quoted by Paul (Acts 13:41, "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you").

... Among the heathen. In Acts 13:41, "ye despisers," from the Septuagint So the Syriac and Arabic versions; perhaps from a different Hebrew reading. [Some conjecture that for bagowyim (Hebrew #1471) the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic read bog


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/habakkuk-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) Among the heathen.—These words are emphatic. They imply—Jehovah will no longer manifest Himself among His chosen people, but among the Gentiles. Let them look abroad, and they shall see Him using the Chaldæans as His instrument for their own chastisement. They are to “wonder,” not at God’s choice of an agent, but at the consequences of the visitation, which resulted in the sack of the Temple, and the deportation of 10,000 captives; a work which the Jews might well not have credited, though it were told them. The words “among the heathen” (bag-gôyim) were, probably, misread by the LXX. translators bôg’dîm. Hence the translation, καταϕρονηταί, “ye despisers.” In Acts 13:41 St. Paul is represented as citing the verse in its LXX. form, as a warning to his Jewish hearers at Antioch. This citation, of course, gives no authority whatever to the variant. Nor is it certain that St. Paul did not actually quote the Hebrew form of the verse, which would seem more appropriate to the circumstances than the other. (Comp. Acts 13:42; Acts 13:46 seq.). That St. Luke should substitute the Greek variant is intelligible enough.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/habakkuk-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
ye among
Deuteronomy 4:27; Jeremiah 9:25,26; 25:14-29
and regard
Isaiah 29:14; Lamentations 4:12; Daniel 9:12; Acts 13:40,41
for
Isaiah 28:21,22; Jeremiah 5:12,13; 18:18; Ezekiel 12:22-28; Zephaniah 1:2; Acts 6:13,14

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/habakkuk-1.html.

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